Expedition update: Bonaire

The team and captain Niels have dealt well in the testing conditions brought about by the strong winds we've had for the last week. Bonaire is acutely aware of the importance of its reef, and since 1979, the entire circumference of the island has been declared a marine reserve. The marine park prohibits many activities, including anchoring, spear fishing and even the use of gloves when diving. We've done many special transects here that have displayed a healthy abundance and rich diversity of hard and soft corals. However, even with some of the world's best marine practices, anthropogenic influences are still affecting reefs. Today, we ran a transect along the water front of the capital of Bonaire, Kralendijk, which receives an ever increasing number of cruise ships. The start of the transect consisted of large numbers of porous sea rods (Holaxonia Pseudoplexaura) and symmetrical brain corals (Diploria Strigosa) that provided habitat for many larger reef fish, such as tarpon and jacks. Once the transect progressed to the main pier of Kralendijk, coral had been completely replaced by algae covered rubbish. After a further 500m, some limited coral life began to reappear. In contrast, our next transect completedĀ at Klein Bonaire displayed a far healthier reef system, something we have become accustomed to on Bonaire. The time has now come to wish farewell to Bonaire as the team commences packing for Aruba.